Saturday, June 13, 2009

Betty's Back Again

Two days later, I was still hobbling around, but I was desperate for some normal activity. Now anyone who has had back pain can tell you that having a sore, achy, tricky back can make you feel as though you have aged about twenty or thirty years. You move slower, you lean on things, you are wary of those annoying sprightly people around who might just bump into you. You have no dramatic bandages, no crutches, no cast to announce that you have a problem. What you should do is wear one of those red triangles like the Amish put on their buggies as they slowly move down life's highways with all the high speed cars racing by. Instead, you just walk at an angle, wince a lot, making high-pitched noises as you go, giving people the impression that you have problems far beyond the physical.

I decided my return to society and normality would begin at Ross--that purveyor of fine fashion. I managed to get into the car by actually sitting in the seat and lifting my left leg into the vehicle. It was an auspicious start. I drove to the store, unloaded my left leg again and was quite proud of my progress as I entered the double doors. I was back in the land of the living again. My first trip down the aisle began well, but after stopping at Better Designer Wear to lean against the rack to rest, then Juniors Woven Tops to bend forward and to try to stretch, then Women's Knit Tops to weave back and forth to alleviate the pain, I figured I had better do something before proceeding to the clearance aisle where I would most likely collapse and have a marked down sticker applied to my buttocks.

Then, as if from the heavens, it appeared: an abandoned shopping cart. I hobbled to it and felt the sweet relief as I leaned on the slick, secure and probably germ-filled handle. was blue plastic and had a long metal pole reaching up toward the sky to prevent miscreants from trying take it out to the parking lot.

I pushed and leaned, pushed and leaned for a few minutes before I started to feel the familiar pain in my back. I was getting cranky now and starting to resent the small children running in the aisle. I leaned on my cart and wondered why they didn't have the sense to make the aisles wider, and what was that woman just standing there--exactly where I needed to go--thinking? Shouldn't these children be in school or locked up? Was that a sweater underneath my wheels? Who put that there? Who was that old woman, bent over the handle of her cart? She was in my way!

 Oh OH.
 It was a mirror.

Then it dawned on me:

I looked around the store, at all the old women pushing carts and glaring at everyone. I looked up to see a dozen or so metal poles floating around the store like little arrows on a GPS System, locating Elderly Leaners in my vicinity.

In the past I had been so careful to avoid this day at Ross. It was Tuesday, Senior Citizen discount day. Dozens of women, dressed in sweats and sneakers (like me!) were leaning on their carts (like me!) and glaring at anyone who caused a minor disturbance (like me!) Oh, it was time to go.

A voice cried out inside my head.  I was not like those women! I was young! I was fit! I was vibrant!  I immediately abandoned my cart/walker, hobbled to the front of the store where I made my way to the parking lot, my left leg dragging slightly.  I am a long way from being like those women I thought as I picked up my leg and deposited it in the car.  I headed home. 

Upon entering the house, I took some Advil, got out my heating pad, lowered myself onto the couch and turned on the TV to watch my friends at Food Network fry up crab cakes.

It was what any vibrant, young, fit woman would do on a Tuesday afternoon.


Susan said...

you're darn tootin' it is! I hope Betty's back is better!

Bossy Betty said...

It is!!! Thanks!